By BEN FINLEY and JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER, Associated Press
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A guardian and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy guy. A 16-year-old helps his family.
This is how friends and family described some of the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, when a manager opened fire with a pistol just before a staff meeting. Five adults have been identified, while authorities have not released the name of the sixth person killed, a 16-year-old boy.
Family and friends dressed in white remembered the teenager at a vigil in the Walmart parking lot on Thursday night. His friends told The Virginian-Pilot it was hard to believe he was gone.
Rosy Perez, a family friend, told the New York Times that the teen attended a local high school while working the night job to help support his family.
“He wanted to help a little bit,” Perez said. “He was a very good kid.”
Here are some details about the lost:
Kellie Pyle, 52, from Chesapeake
Pyle was remembered as a generous and kind person, a mother who had wedding plans in the near future.
“We love her,” said Gwendolyn Bowe Baker Spencer. “She wanted to marry my son next year. She was a great, kind person – yes, she was.”
Pyle had adult children in Kentucky who will travel to Virginia after the tragedy, Spencer said.
Pyle moved back to her native Norfolk in May after reconnecting with her high school sweetheart and recently landed a job at Walmart, her cousin Billy Pillar-Gibson told The Washington Post. He recalled Pyle’s sarcastic sense of humor and called her his best friend.
“We grew up in a crazy family and we hit it off,” he said. “I can’t remember life without her.”
Brian Pendleton, 38, from Chesapeake
Pendleton made sure to be on time. Although his shift as a janitor began at 10:30 p.m., he was in the break room when the shooting began just after 10 a.m., according to his mother, Michelle Johnson.
“He used to come to work early so he could get to work on time,” she told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “He liked his colleagues.”
Pendleton recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at the store.
His mother said he had no problems at work except with a supervisor, Andre Bing, who was identified as the shooter.
“He just didn’t like my son,” Johnson said. “He would tell me that he (Bing) would make his life miserable.”
Pendleton was born with a congenital brain disorder and grew up in Chesapeake, his mother said.
“He called me yesterday before he left for work,” Johnson said. “I always tell him to call me when he gets home from work.”
As she was getting ready for bed, Johnson received a call from a family friend telling her that there was a shooting at Walmart.
“Brian was a happy guy. Brian loved family. Brian loved friends. He loved telling jokes,” his mother said. “We will miss him”
Lorenzo Gamble, 43, of Chesapeake
Gamble was a night-shift janitor and had worked at Walmart for 15 years, the Washington Post reported.
His parents, Linda and Alonzo Gamble, said he loves spending time with his two sons.
“He just kept to himself and did his job,” said Linda Gamble. “He was the quiet one in the family.”
His mother said Gamble enjoyed going to his 19-year-old’s football games and cheering on the Washington Commanders NFL team.
She posted on Facebook that she’s having trouble saying goodbye.
“I’m missing my baby right now, life isn’t the same without my son,” she wrote.
Randy Blevins, 70, of Chesapeake
Blevins was a Norfolk Admirals hockey fan and enjoyed photography and coin collecting, daughter Cassandra Yeats told the New York Times.
“He never missed a single day’s work,” she said. “He loved his family and was supportive of everyone.”
Blevins was a longtime member of the store team, setting prices and arranging merchandise. Former colleague Shaundrayia Reese, who said she worked at the store from around 2015 to 2018, affectionately referred to Blevins as “Mr. Cool.”
She said the night crew at the store is “family” and the staff rely on each other.
Tyneka Johnson, 22, from Portsmouth
Theodore Johnson, 41, told the New York Times that his cousin lived with her mother.
“She was young and wanted to make her own money,” he said.
When Johnson attended Western Branch High School, Casheba Cannon taught the student with dreams of college and a supportive family, Cannon told The Washington Post.
“Education was the priority. Her family went above and beyond to make sure she got help,” Cannon said.
Johnson was willing to work to improve herself, but she was also cheerful, helping younger students and “getting along” with everyone she met at Cannon’s Blessed Tutoring Services, she said. Johnson had a sense of style and a love for music and dance.
“She was that kid. When she came to tutoring, she was in very good shape,” Cannon said. “Tyneka was a light in a dark room.”
A makeshift memorial to Johnson with the words “Our Hearts are with you” and a basket of flowers was placed on a lawn in front of Walmart.
The commemoration included a cluster of blue, white and gold balloons attached to a tree, next to a stark yellow line of police tape.
Associated Press news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Kelleher contributed to this report from Honolulu.
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